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23 WIST MAIN STRIET
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w.'?^js;"";,f i^ . ' Tf^**r•iV'J, ;;..--.»•... ^
v,^-:' . ■ ■»■ .
'he Esquicd/iux ^ADY
A STORY OF HER NATIVE HOME
.... ■ ' s.-- ^ ■
ALBERT S. POST, A. M.
THE ESQUIMAUX LADY
A STORY OF HER NATIVE HOME
ALBERT S. POST, A. M.
Hv AiJiK.kT S. I'osi
A. 1>. 1W7
Press of Wm. Osman ft Son».
In writing this little book, it has been our constant
aim to make it, as nearly as possible, an autobiogra-
phy, giving Miss Krarer's own thoughts and words,
avoiding some of the little errors, caused by her im-
perfect knowledge of English, which are thought hy
some to add a certain charm to her conversation.
If, near the conclusion, I may seem to have departed
from this plan, it is only because she desired me to
attempt the expression of her thought in more eial>-
orate language than she can herself, at present, make
She is authority for the facts, from beginning tr>
Hoping that the story of her eventful life may be
as interesting to those who read, as it has alreadj'
been to thousands who have heard it from her own
lips ; and with the heartfelt wish that it may be the
means of enabling her to accomplish her cherished
purpose, I am glad to have this opportunity of as-
sisting in her work.
Albert S. Post.
# . i
I WAS born in Greenland, on the east coast. I am
the youngest of eight children. My three sisters
and four brothers are all living in Iceland. My
father is living in Manitoba. My mother died in
Iceland when I was sixteen years old.
We lived near the sea-shore in Greenland. Our
house was built of snow. It was round, perhaps
sixteen feet across, and coming to a point at the top.
It was lined with fur on all sides, and was carpeted
with a double thickness of fur.
The way they lined the house was to take a skin
of some animal, and hold it near a fire, which was
in the centre of the room. When the skin was heat-
ed through, they took it and pressed it against the
wall. In a short time, it stuck to the wall so tightly
that it could not be pulled off without tearing the
The door was a thick curtain of fur, hung over
the doorway, by heating the upper part, and letting
it .stick fast to the wall. Outside of the door was a
long, narrow passageway, just high enough for one
of us little Esquimaux people to stand up straight
in. That would be about high enough for a child
i . i
2 Olof Krarci.
six years old, in this country ; and it was only widr
enough for one person to go through at a time. If
one wanted to go out, and another wanted to go in.
at the same time, one would have to back out an<i
let the other go first. This passageway was not
straight ; but turned to one side, so as not to let the
wind blow in.
Our fireplace was in the centre of the house. The
bottom was a large, flat stone, with other stones and
whalebone put about the edge to keep the fire from
getting out into the room. When we wanted to
build a fire, we would put some whalebone and lean
meat on the stone; then a little dry moss was put
in, and then my father would take a flint and a
whale's tooth, or some other hard bone, and strike fire
upon the moss. Sometimes he could do it easily,
but sometimes it took a long while. After the fire
started he would put some blubber upon it.
Although it was so very cold, we would often be
without a fire, for what we made the fire of was what
we had to live on, and we could not always afford to
burn it. Our fire did not warm the room very much.
It was mostly to give light, so that it might be a
little more cheerful in the room. When we had no
fire it was very dark.
There was no chance to play round and romp in-
side the snow-house. We just had to sit with our
arms folded and keep .still. It was in this way that
my arms came to have such a different shape from
people's arms in this country. Where their muscle
» * »
. I (iiiOl Dt'/iidi )'.
and it was only with'
irou^'h at a time. If
ther wanted to go in.
have to back out and
passageway was not
le, so as not to let the
trc of the house. The
with other stones and
to keep the fire from
When wc wanted to
e whalebone and lean
:le dry moss was put
d take a flint and a
rd bone, and strike fire
e could do it easily,
while. After the fire
bber upon it.
I, we would often be
ie the fire of was what
i not always afford to
the room very much.
3 that it might be a
d. When we had no
' round and romp in-
: had to sit with our
was in this way that
different shape from
Where their muscle
is large and strong, I have but very little; and instead
of that, I have a large bunch of muscle on the upper
side of my arms, and they are crooked, so that I can
never straighten them. A doctor in Iceland once
tried to straighten one arm by pulling, but he could
not change it one bit; and it was very sore for a long
time afterward and the muscles were much swollen.
But it was not so with my father and brothers. They
went out to hunt and had more exerci.se anti more
pulling to do, and so their arms were straight.
It was a great thing when the men w^uld come
home from a hunt, for then we would have a j^'reat
ileal to talk about: — how far they went, how cold it
was, how they found the bear, or walrus, or seal, and
who was most active and brave in killing it. Father
would often say to mother, " Oh, how I wish you had
been along, for we had such a nice drink of warm
blood." The warm blood of a dying animal was con-
sidered the greatest luxury we could get, because we
had not any cooked food at all. We ate it all frozen
and raw, except when fresh from the animal. It was
a great thing to strike the animal first with a spear,
for the one who drew first blood was owner of the
skin and was the boss of the whole job. They just
had to cut it to suit him. The flesh was div.ded
equally between all the hunters.
Sometimes we used to get very tired in the dark
snow-house, and then we would try a little amuse-
ment. Two of us would sit down on the fur carpet
and look into one another's faces and guess who ivas
4 Olof Krnrer.
the prettiest. Wc had to guess, for we had no look-
ing-glass in which to see our own faces. The one
whose face shone slickest with the grease was called
V at any time we grew too tired of it all and ven-
tured to romp and play, we were in danger of being
punished. As there were no trees from which to
cut switches there, they took a different way. When
any child was naughty, mother would take a bone
and she would put it into the fire and leave it there
until it was hot enough for the grease to boil out.
Then she would take it and slap that on her child
and burn it. She was not particular where she
burned her child, only she was careful not to touch
I can well remember what I got my last punish-
ment for. I had been playing with my little broth-
er inside the snow-hou.se and I got mad at him, and
so I threw him down and bit him on the back of the
neck. Then mother heated a bone and burned me
on the same place where I bit him. I got tired of
that and didn't do that kind of a trick afterwards.
But it was not always so that we had to stay in
the snow-house. Once in a while father would come
in and say it was not so cold as usual, and then we
would have a' chance to look round outside the snow-
house. We never took a long walk. As nearly as I
can remember, my father's house was on a low plain
near the sea-shore. It sloped gently inland, and we
could have seen a great way into the back country
The Dof[-Shii:;li Ride
less, for we had no look-
r own faces. The one
th the grease was called
o tired of it ail and ven-
werc in danger of being
no trees from which to
>: a different way. When
)ther would take a bone
z fire and leave it there
the grease to boil out.
slap that on her child
; particular where she
as careful not to touch
I got my last punish-
ig with my little broth-
i I got mad at him, and
: him on the back of the
a bone and burned me
it him. I got tired of
of a trick afterwards,
hat we had to stay in
tvhile father would come
as usual, and then we
round outside the snow-
ig walk. As nearly as I
ouse was on a low plain
:d gently inland, and we
into the back country
if it had not been for the great snowdrifts and
masses of ice. There were some steep, jagged rocks
in sight of our village, and during the long daytime
enough of the snow would melt off to leave the rocks
bare in a few places. On these bare spots we would
find a kind of brown moss, which we gathered and
dried to light our fires with.
We never saw anything green in Greenlan ;, and
I never could understand why they called it by that
When we looked out toward the ocean, we could
not see very far, for even in the warmest season there
was only a small space of open water, and beyond
that the ice was all piled up in rough, broken masses.
The great event in our family life, however, was
the dog-sleigh ride. When father told us we could
go, we came as near dancing and clapping our hands
for joy as Esquimau.x children ever did. But we did
not have a fine cutter, with large horses and chiming
bells. We did not even have an old-fashioned bob-
sled, in which young men and young women have
such good times in your country.
Sometimes the sleigh would be made of a great
wide piece of bone from the jaws of a whale, one
end of which turned up like a runner. * But more
often it would be either a skin of some animal laid
flat on the ground, or a great frozen fish cut in two
at the back and then turned right over. I never saw
such a fish in this country, or in Iceland, so I cannot
tell what kind of fish it was.
6 Olof K rarer.
Our sleigh was drawn by dogs — sometimes six and
sometimes ten or twelve. Each dog had a collar
round his neck and a strip of reindeer hide tied into
the collar and to the sleigh. When the dogs were
well broken, they did not need any lines to guide
them; but if they were not well trained, they had to
have lines to contr.ol them. While we were getting
ready to start, the dogs would jump about and whine
and be as anxious to go as fiery horses in this coun-
try. The trained dogs would run forward and put
their noses right into their collars without any trou-
ble. When all was ready, away we went! It was
great fun! The dogs could carry the sleigh faster
than horses do in this country. Sometimes the
sleigh was bumped and tumbled about a good deal
on the rough ice, and once in a while it tipped over.
The dogs are about the size of shepherd dogs :ind
have sharp pointed ears. They are very strong, and
have heavy coats of long hair, which often drags
upon the snow. They are of a dirty gray color.
When my father had as many as ten or twelve
dogs, he had a separate snow-house for them and
kept them in that; but when he had lost or lent his
dogs, so that he had only two or three, he would
let them come into the snow-house with us. Our
dogs had the same kind of food to live on that we
had, and sometimes when food was scarce they had
a hard time of it. They were never fed when we
were going to start out for a sleigh ride, for then the>'
would lie right down and refuse to mv)ve one step.
/ t t
tAtni^- Days and Nia^hts.
gs — sometimes six and
Lach dog had a collar
reindeer hide tied into
When the dogs were
eed any lines to guide
:11 trained, they had to
tVhilc we were getting
jump about and whine
ry horses in this coun-
run forward and put
liars without any trou-
^ay we went! It was
carry the sleigh faster
ntry. Sometimes the
led about a good deal
a while it tipped over.
t of shepherd dogs ;ind
ey are very strong, and
air, which often drags
a dirty gray color,
lany as ten or twelve
w-house for them and
he had lost or lent his
vo or three, he would
,f-house with us. Our
food to live on that we
id was scarce they had
:re never fed when we
leigh ride, for then they
ise to mv)ve one step.
But whenever we came back from a ride they were
Our dogs were very useful to us in other ways
than drawing our sleighs, for they were very sharp
and good to hunt. They helped to kill the polar
bear, and to find the seal and walrus.
Now, in order that you may understand our way
of living better, I will explain that we have six
months' night in Greenland, and during that time
nothing is seen of the sun. The moon changes very
much as it does here, and we have the light of the
stars. Then most of the time the beautiful northern
lights may be seen dancing and leaping about, with
many colored rainbow beauties. The white snow is
always on the ground, so that even when the moon
and northern lights did not show, we could see to
hunt round. Before and after the night time, there
was about a month of twilight, and this was our
finest time of the year. We had then the best
chance to hunt.
In the long day we had the hardest time, for then
the sun shone out so brightly that we would be made
snow blind if we ventured far from home. The day
was four months long, and if we did not have food
enough stored away in an ice cave to last us through,
we would be in great danger of starving.
The best time to hunt is when the ice breaks up.
My people know when this is going to happen by
the noise. There is a rumbling sound like distant
thunder. Whoever hears that sound first goes from
8 Olflf Krarcr.
house to house and gives warning, so that ali may
be ready to join in the hunt. Then the hunters get
their spears and let out their dogs, and hurry to the
placi where the sound is heard. The polar bear
hears the sound also, and hastens to the place, for it
is here that he, too, miist make his living. This is
the only time that Esquimau.x ever dare to tackle a
polar bear, for when he is going about alone and
hungry he is very fierce and dangerous; but when
the ice breaks up the bear goes straight for the
sound. This grows louder and longer, until there is
a mighty crash, louder than thunder, and great walls
of ice are thrown high in air, and a space of open
water is to be seen. When the commotion has
ceased, my people crowd along the edge of the water.
They first look out for the bear, for they don't want
him to catch any of their seals. They have some of
their dogs loose in front of the sleigh, and some of
them harnessed to it. When they come to the bear,
he is busy watching for seal and pays very little at-
tention to the hunters or their dogs. The loose
dogs run up to him and begin to worry him. He
chases some of them, and the others bite him behind.
If he makes a rush at the hunters in their sleighs, the
dog teams draw them swiftly away. The loose dogs
keep on worrying the bear until he becomes furious
with rage. Every little while a sweep of his huge
paw lays one of his enemies on the snow, silent in
death. A few minutes later, perhaps, another will
be caught up in the powerful embrace of the great
rning, so that ali may
Then the hunters get
dogs, and hurry to the
»ard. The polar bear
itens to the place, for it
ke his living. This is
X ever dare to tackle a
going about alone and
dangerous; but when
goes straight for the
nd longer, until there is
hunder, and great walls
and a space of open
n the commotion has
ig the edge of the water,
jar, for they don't want
lis. They have some of
lie sleigh, and some of
\ they come to the bear,
and pays very little at-
heir dogs. The loose
;gin to worry him. He
others bite him behind.
Iters in their sleighs, the
' away. The loose dogs
ntil he becomes furious
le a sweep of his huge
on the snow, silent in
, perhaps, another will
1 embrace of the great
A Bear ITuiit. 9
brute. The dogs crowd in and take hold wherever
they can. The bear grows frantic in his struggles to
punish his adversaries. At last he lies at full length
panting upon the snow. Then it is that some hunter
ventures to leave his dog-sled and try to kill him
with a walrus tusk. No sooner is he sure that the
animal is dying than he hastens to get a drink of
warm blood. Then a long cut is made down the
belly of the animal with the points of the walrus
tusks and the skin is pulled and pushed off with their
hands. Ali hands feast upon the warm grease that
is inside the animal, and after that they divide the
meat and take it home.
I will now e.xplain that the breaking up of the ice
I have told about is not from thawing. In the
warmest time we ever saw in that part of Green-
land where I came from, it never thawed enough to
make the water run in streams. A few bare spots
were melted off on the rocks and high points of
land. Once in a while the snow would melt enough
to drip a little, and form icicles, but not often. It
was cold, cold, bitter cold, all the year round, and
the people in this country can hardly have an idea
of it, even in the coldest weather here. From this
we see that there could be no chance for heat
enough to make the thick ice break up by thawing.
Have you ever .seen a tub which was full of water
frozen nearly solid.' Then, perhaps you remember
that the middle was heaved up and cracked to pieces
by ^^^G. frost. This, J think, is what takes place in
the Northern seas, only on a far grandc- scale. A
rumbling sound can be heard for some time before
it really breaks up; but. when it doe;, come, there is
an awful roar like loudest thunder, and great blocks
of ice are lifted and piled one above another, until
they are higher than the tops of the highest build-
ings in this country. As it breaks up a good many
times in the same place, these ice mountains are
piled higher and higher, until they get so large we
cannot see over them or round them at all. Each
time the ice breaks up, there is an open space
where the water is free from ice, and the walruses
and seals come up to breathe. Sometimes a walrus
will crawl away from this opening far enough for the
hunters to head him off and kill him. The walrus
is hard to kill, for he is so watchful, and there is no
way to call him as they do the seal. But when killed
he is quite a prize.
In hunting the seal, they take a different plan.
The seal is very fond of its young. The hunters will
take advantage of this by lying flat on the ice and
making a sound like the cry of a young seal. In this
way they manage to call the old seal out on the ice.
But even then it is not always easy to catch the seal,
for it has a strong, flexible tail, by means of which
it is able to throw itself a good many feet at a time,
so that even when on the ice it sometimes gets away
with its awkward rolls and flops and jumps. A seal
is very active and almost always in motion.
Our greatest prize was the whale. Once in a while
dipt II If of a WImle.
ar grandc- scale. A
"or some time before
: doe;, come, there is
der, and great blocks
above another, until
Df the highest build-
;aks up a good many
56 ice mountains are
they get so large we
them at all. Each
e is an open space
ice, and the walruses
Sometimes a walrus
ing far enough for the
:ill him. The walrus
hful, and there is no
seal. But when killed
;akc a different plan,
ng. The hunters will
ig flat on the ice and
a young seal. In this
Id seal out on the ice.
easy to catch the seal,
, by means of which
\ many feet at a time,
sometimes gets away
IS and jumps. A .seal
y^s in motion,
hale. Once in a while
one would get entangled in the breaking ice so that
it could not get away, and then everybody would be
out to help or see the fun. A great many ropes of
reindeer hide would be brought out and a great
many spears stuck into the animal. Then the men
would join together and try to pull the huge creature
out of the water. Even with the help of all the dogs
that could be u.sed it was hard work, but they would
manage it after a while Then all would give a great
shout and have great joy over the whale. One rea.soM
for their rejoicing was that the whale had so much
blubber. Blubber is the inside fat of the whale.
There is a fine skin over it and it looks like tallow
or leaf lard. It is quite hard in my country, but
would melt down into what you would call whale oil
in this country. After the whale is cut up we would
have a great feast and eat all we could. Then, after
taking the meat home, we would .spend a long time
eating and sleeping.
It was only when the ice broke up and the people
came together to hunt that they met one another.
All the rest of the time the families stay in their
own homes, and do not visit back and forth as your
people do. The only exceptions arc, when a man
needs meat, or blubber, or a flint, and goes to borrow,
or when a young man goes to steal his girl. There
is no buying and selling, and no trading. Any one
can get what he needs by asking for it, if it is in the
village. The people try to treat each other as broth-
ers and sisters.
I will now txplaiii a stranjie custom amon^ our
people. When a young man j^cts to be about 25
jrears old lie is full thrown and is considered lo be of
age. Me then begins to think of beginning life for
himself. It is a risky thing in my country to get a
wife. A young man has to steal his girl out of her
parents' snow-house and get her away into another.
If he is caught trying to do this the girl's parents
turn right on him and kill him. If he has not pluck
enough to steal a girl for himself, he has to live alone,
and when he goes to sleep he crawls head first into
a fur sack. When he wants to get up he must crawl
out backwards. I suppose he is what you would call
A young man, who sees a girl he thinks he would
like to have for a wife, makes a great many excuses
to come to her father's snow-house. Sometimes he
wants to borrow a flint, or blubber, or something
else. If he comes without any excuse, the girl's pa-
rents tell him, " I know very well what you do want;
you want my girl, but you never shall get her."
Then he gets kind of scared and runs off But he
sneaks round again pretty often. He thinks may be
her parents will go out for a dog-sleigh ride, or may
be they would lay them down to sleep some time.
If he does get her out of the snow-house without
being caught, the. girl's parents send right back for
him and think nobody is any smarter than he is, and
do all they can for him.
The reason a girl's parents want the young man
t<,,r7-ma\, mc^m* )*.4-kn 8e*BMm -rtTiTn li itTi " im« fii II wmu ,w *mmt .Ct M\i\
,' custom amonji our
j(cts to be about 25
is considered lo be of
of befjinniiiff life for
my country to get a
al his girl out of her
;r away into another.
lis the girl's parents
If he has not pluck
If, he has to live alone,
rawls head first into
get up he must crawl
s what you would call
rl he thinks he would
I great many excuses
ouse. Sometimes he
lubber, or something
' excuse, the girl's pa-
ell what you do want;
levcr shall get her."
nd runs off But he
1. He thinks may be
)g-sleigh ride, or may
to sleep some time.
; snow-house without
ts send right back for
martcr than he is, and
vant the young man
rih- liifiuil l\Si/iiiiii(iii.\.
to steal her is, tli.il the)- want lu fun! out whether he
is willing to risk his life for his own girl or not.
They think if he is not smart enough to steal a girl,
he would not be smart enough to take care of her —
kill a polar bear, so that she would have enough to
There arc not many old bachelors in my country,
for if a man has not spunk enough to steal a girl he
is looked clown upon as a sort of soft, good-for-noth-
Many people are disappointed when they see me,
because I am not darker colored, with black hair.
More of my people have light hair than dark, and
we know that we are naturally a fair-skinned people,
because when a baby is born in my country it is just
as white as any American baby, and it has light hair
and blue eyes. But the mother does not wash it
with soft water and soap, as they do in this country,
but she goes to work and greases it all over, and the
child is never washed from the day he is born till he
dies, if he remains in that country. The mother
wraps her little one in the skin of a young seal,
which has been made very soft by pounding and
rubbing it on the ice. If baby cries, the mother will
not take it up and care for it, but she puts it in a
corner and leaves it there until it stops crying, and
then she takes it up and pets it. She can only nurse
it about a month. Then the mother will warm some
blubber for it; but in a little while it mu.st live just
like the rest. She carries the baby in her hood, and
(Iocs not expect it to learn to walk until between
two and three years old. Then she makos a suit for
it of young seals fur. When the child becomes
larger, say six or seven years old. a thicker suit is
made of polar bear skin; and then little "Auska"
feels as proutl of his new clothes as "Our Charlie"
does of his new boots, and the chubby "Roegnia"
rejoices over her white suit as much as dainty Flora
in her arctics and muff and fur collar. But Au.ska
and Roegnia are dressed more nearly alike than
Charlie and Flora. Men's clothes arc just like
women's clothes; only a woman's coat comes down to
a point and man's coat is cut off square, and that is
all the difference. They wear fur mittens and fur
I think it would be very nice for some ladies in
this country, if they were to go to Greenland; for
they would have no washing, no ironing, no scrub-
bing and no cooking to do. They don't even have
to wash their faces or comb their hair. Esquimaux
people have only the salt ocean water, and if they
had soft, fresh water they dare not use it, for it would
be like poison to their flesh when the thermometer
was 60= or 7o» below zero. So, when they eat, my
people take a chunk of raw meat in one hand and a
chunk of blubber in the other, and take a bite of
each until it is eaten. Then they carefully rub the
grease and fat all over their hands and face, and feel
The women have long hair, made dark by the
walk until between
she mak-ps a suit for
the child becomes
)lci, a thicker suit is
then little "Auska"
cs as "Our Charlie"
ie chubby "Roegnia"
nuch as dainty Flora
collar. But Auska
e nearly alike than
othes arc just like
scoat comes down to
r square, and that is
fur mittens and fur
: for some ladies in
JO to Greenland; for
lo ironing, no scrub-
ey don't even have
ir hair. Esquimaux
water, and if they
ot use it, for it would
;n the thermometer
when they eat, my
t in one hand and a
and take a bite of
:y carefully rub the
ds and face, and feel
made dark by the
U'/nr/ lOHStitiitcs ll'nt////.
smoke and grease. The men have long hair, also,
and a thin, scattering beard over the face, which
they never shave or trim, because they have no
razor or shears.
We had no church or court house, no school or
factory, no doctor, lawyer or merchant, no money,
jewelry or timepiece, not an axe, spade or hammer,
no knife, fork or spoon, no bread, no cloth, no wood!
I never saw as much wood in my country as would
make one little match. For a needle we use the
tooth of a fish; for thread the sinews of a reindeer.
Rich people were those who had a flint. Poor
people had to go and borrow it when they wanted
to light a fire. Common folks would sit down flat
on the fur carpet, but "tony" people would get blocks
of ice or snow and put in the snow-house and cover
them with fur for seats. But it was only the t/ios/
tonicst people who did that kind of a trick.
My people believe in good and bad spirits. They
think there is a big Good Spirit and several small
ones, and one big bad spirit and several small ones.
They think if they tell a lie or do anything wrong,
the bad spirit will come and hurt them some way.
If a baby gets sick the mother does not do anything
for it. She thinks a bad spirit has hold of her child,
and will get her too if she helps it in any way. If
baby dies she lays It away in the cold snow and
leaves it without a tear. When a man is sick they
carry him into a separate snow-house, and all they
do to help him is to throw in a piece of poor meat
( Vti/ Kntnr.
whieli they do not laic about thomst'lvcs. If a
woman is sick she is not taken from hrr snow-house,
but is no better cared for. The only ch'sease is some-
thing like consumption in this country. After an
l''.s(|uimaux tlies they drajj him out and bury him in
the snow, piiinj; blocks of ice as hi^jh as they can
above the j^rave. If he has not specially t(ivcn his
spear and flint and skins to some of his friends be-
fore he tlies, then everything is burieil with him, and
the friends j^o home to think no more about him.
If the white bear comes alon^j and di^s up the body
they do not care. Tiiey never speak of a departed
friend, because they fancy it woultl annoy the spirit,
which is supposed to be not far off.
When a man is first taken sick they do one thing
for him, if he is not very bad. They gather round
him and sing to the Good Spirit, in hopes that He
will drive away the bad spirit. If the sick man re-
covers they think a great deal of him.
Sometimes my father would tell us stories about
his parents and grand parents, and then he would
tell how they said that their parents told how long,
long ago the first people had come from Norway,
Hut no one knew what Norway was like. Some said
it was a great house somewhere; some said it was the
moon, and some said it was where the Good Spirit
One thing had a great deal of interest for us ail.
When the sun shone out brightly at the beginning
of the daytime it marked the first of the year, just
Coiiiiiit:; of the Icclttniim.
tlicinsflvcs. If ii
m luT snow-house,
ily disease is somc-
ountry. After an
t and bury him in
hi^jh as they can
specially ^ivcn his
of his friends be-
iried with him. and
more about him.
d digs up the body
)cak of a departed
d annoy the spirit,
they do one thing
'hey gather round
in hopes that He
f the sick man re-
1 us stories about
and then he would
nts told how long,
ame from Norway,
as like. Some said
lome said it was the
;re the Good Spirit
ntercst for us all.
y at the beginning
: of the year, just
as New N'ear's Day in this con.itry. Th'-n mothiT
and father would bring out the s;uk- i.acii niu' nil-
made of a different kind of fur. Kathrr had his.
mother had hers, and each of the children one. In
each sack was a piece of bone for every first tiu'r
that person had seen the sun. When ten bones vmic
gathered they would tie them into a bundle, for they
had not words to count more than tcti.
In such a land was I born. In such a home was I
brought up. In such pleasures I rejoiced, until there
were about fourteen bones in my sack. Then son>e-
thing happened which changed my whole life. Si.\
tall men came to our village. Our men were much
frightened at first and did not know what to make
of the giants. Some thought them bad spirits.
Hut they were peaceable, and went hunting with
our people and helped them, so that after a while
they came to like one another. The strangers were
Iceland fishermen. After they lived with us for more
than a year, they were able to e.\plain how they were
shipwrecked in a storm, and how they got on the ice
and walked on the ice till they came to Greenland.
They told how much they wanted to get back to
their families, and how much better country Iceland
was. At la.st, three Esquimau.v families told the Ice-
landers they would lend them their dogs and sleds
if they would do them any good. And because they
wanted their dogs back again they said they would
go with them.
So they started out. My father's family was the
largest in the party, there beiiijr ten oi us in all.
Mo.st Esquimaux families had only three or four
children ir them — sometimes only one child, and often
none at all. I was a young and giddy thing then,
and was glaa to go. We traveled a long way down
the coast, hunting as we went. Then we turned right
out on to the ocean itself. On the way there were
three polar bears killed and .some seals ai.d other an-
imals, so that we had plenty to eat. I remember we
would sometimes take something to eat when the
sledges were flying over the ice with the dogs at full
gallop. At intervals we fed the dogs, and they
gathered closely round the sled and soon all were
asleep. When we woke up we went on again. While
on the ocean we often heard the sound of the ice
breaking up, and would have to hurry away to escape
being caught in the upheaval. We finally reached
Iceland after being two months and some days on
the way, according to the Icelanders' calculation, and
having traveled about a thousand miles.
The people in Iceland were astonished to see us
little people. They came to see us from a long dis-
tance. We were all weighed and measured. My
father stood three feet five inches, and weighed i6o
pounds. My mother was the same height woman
that I am, and weighed 150. None of my brothers was
quite so tall as my father, but they came near his
weight. One of my si.sters was only three feet two
inches, and weighed 142. I weighed 136 pounds.
lid's family was the
ciiifr ten oi us in all.
1 only three or four
ily one child, and often
and giddy thing then,
;led a long way down
Then we turned right
I the way there were
Tie seals ai.'i other an-
eat. I remember we
ling to eat when the
e with the dogs at full
the dogs, and they
;d and soon all were
kvent on again. While
the sound of the ice
I hurry away to escape
We finally reached
:hs and some days on
iders' calculation, and
astonished to see us
;e us from a long dis-
and measured. My
les, and weighed i6o
same height woman
me of my brothers was
t they came near his
5 only three feet two
veighed 136 pounds.
» , i
Kind Trent nil III by Missionaries-
Now I am three feet four inches high, and weigh 120.
The missionaries in Iceland took great iiitcrest in
us, for they knew we were all heathens, and thty said
they would like to take us into their schools and ed-
ucate us. So each family was taken into a different
school. Our family was placed in the Lutheran
school, and there I studied for five years. My teacher
was a good and kind man. His name was Ion Thor-
derson. He wdr patient with me and helped me to
learn; but some of the scholars were jealous of " the
little thing" and nade fun of me. For this they had
to carry notes hone to their parents, and this secured
to them a good whipping a-piece, so that they were
heard to wish "that little thing", had never come
into the school.
At first we lived several miles from the school, but
we did not know anything about walking, in fact
could not walk any distance, so they sent us on horse-
back. They used to tie me on so that I would not
fall off. It was a funny sight to behold us eight little
tots going to school.
I never shall forget the time when a kind friend
gave me a pony. He was very gentle, and small
enough so that by leading him along side a large
stone I was able to climb upon his back. He would
stand quietly and wait for me. I loved my pony and
thought there was nothing in the world like him.
But this long ride was very hard on us, and finally
the teacher made arrangement so that we could live
close to the school.
The school system was very different in some re-
spects from American schools. The teacher was al-
ways the minister, and the school was connected
with the church. A scholar had first to learn to read,
and must keep at it until he could read better than
the teacher. Then he was called upon to commit to
memory large portions of history and of the Bible;
and when he had learned them so well that he could
repeat from beginning to end without the book, he
was allowed to begin to write. He could not take
pen in hand before that. After learning to write, he
was taught figures; and after that I do not know what
The teacher never laid a hand on the scholar in
punishment. If he did anything wrong, a note was
.sent to his parents, and they flogged him soundly.
I enjoyed the life in Iceland, for I saw and learned
so much that was new.
Some time in the spring there was a holiday, in
which the young folks would cut up pranks, some-
thing like the tricks of April-fool Day here. The
girls would try to fasten a small sack of ashes upon
the clothing of the boys, and they, in return, would
seek to place a pebble in the pockets of the girls,
endeavoring to do it so slyly that the sack or pebble
would be carried about all day with.nit the one who
bore it knowing anything about it.
On one of these days, a girl tied a small sack into
the beard of one of the men. while he was asleep, and
he wore it all day before anyone told him, and then
The Terrors of IViiilir.
lifferent in some rc-
The teacher was al-
hool was connected
first to learn to read,
Id read better than
d upon to commit to
)ry and of the Bible;
50 well that he could
I'ithout the book, he
He could not take
learning to write, he
,t I do not know what
id on the scholar in
ig wrong, a note was
igged him soundly,
for I saw and learned
re was a holiday, in
:ut up pranks, some-
fool Day here. The
ill sack of ashes upon
hey, in return, would
pockets of the girls,
lat the sack or pebble
with<Hit the one who
tied a small sack into
lile he was asleep, and
ne told him, and then
they had a great laugh at his expense. I thought I
would try my hand at this, so I made a little sack
and tucked it into the corner of a patch, which a big
follow wore upon his pants, the corner being ripped
just enough to let the sack slip inside. I had great
fun watching hmi all day, and when night came, he
boasted that none of the girls had fooled him that
day. "Oh, yes," said one of his companions, " the
smallest girl in the house has fooled you badly."
He felt pretty cheap when I pointed to the patch,
and he found the sack sticking out .so that he might
have seen it easily.
Picking up fuel was hard work, and took a great
deal of time. They had but little wood, and no coal,
so that it was necessary to gather the droppings of
animals, and make great piles of this kind of stuff in
the summer, so that it would be dry enough to burn
in the winter.
If mice came about the houses and buildings in
the fall, the Icelanders would fear a hard winter, and
much damage to their sheep; for when the winter
grew very severe, and the mice could get nothing
else to eat, they would climb upon the sheep's
backs, while they were lying close together in the
sheds, and would burrow into the wool, back of the
shoulder-blades, and eat the flesh, very often causing
the death of the poor animals.
The Icelanders used sheep's milk a great deal, and
1 liked it. Sheep's milk is richer and sweeter than
cow's milk. They used to put up a lot of milk in
22 Olof Kniiir.
barrels, and put in some rennet, which 'voultl make
it curdle into something like cotta^je cheese. This
they would set aside for winter use. and all were
very fond of it. The family would be considered
\ ery poor who could not put up from eight to ten
barrels of this food.
They sometimes, also, would churn mutton tallow,
or whale oil, in the .sheep's milk, and make a kind of
butter. Whale oil makes a better butter than the
tallow, and I think I like would it even yet.
While most people had dishes and knives and
forks, it was not customary to set the table, unless
there was company present. Each one had a cup
for himself, made of wood with staves like a barrel,
and curiously bound with whale-bone hoops. They
had handles upon them, but I do not know how fast-
ened. A child's cup would hold about a quart, and
a mans cup sometimes as much as three quarts.
When each one had gotten his cup filled, he would
take his place at any convenient spot in the room,
on the bed. or anywhere, and proceed to empty the
cup with great haste. We all had ravenous appe-
tites, but did not always have enough to eat. In
the spring we had a great treat, when the eggs and
> flesh of wild fowl were to be had. We fared well
when fish were plenty, but at other times a porridge
made of Iceland moss and the curdled milk made up
our fare. Some seasons they can raise a few vege-
tables in Iceland, but this is not often. Of late years
they cannot raise grain, although they used to raise
Dctxth of I he Mollnr.
L't, which 'voultl make
;ottay[e cheese. This
;er use, and all were
would be considered
up from eight to ten
1 churn mutton tallow,
Ik, and make a kind of
better butter than the
d it even yet.
ishes and knives and
1 set the table, unless
Each one had a cup
h staves like a barrel,
ile-bone hoops. They
do not know how fast-
old about a quart, and
nuch as three quarts,
is cup filled, he would
lent spot in the room,
proceed to empty the
11 had ravenous appe-
ve enough to eat. In
:at, when the eggs and
e had. We fared well
: other times a porridge
2 curdled milk made up
T can raise a few vege-
jot often. Of late years
ough they used to raise
One of the books that we had there was a history
(.f America, and in that it said that money could be
picked up off the streets, almost. I have since found
it quite a difficujty. But that book put me into the
notion to come out here. So when a colony of five
hundred Icelanders were about to start for Manitoba,
I got my father to come with them. He had just
money enough to bring himself and one of his child-
ren, so he naturally chose his youngest and the one
that was most anxious to come.
My mother died with consumption when we had
been in Iceland about a year. I shall never forget
the circumstances of her illness. I hated her, and
turned from her just as we did in Greenland. She
thought it was all right, and told me to keep away
and to hate her, for fear the bad spirit would get me.
I said to my teacher one day: " I hate my mother."
"Why, my dear child, you .should not do that."
" But I do hate her; she has a bad spirit in her,
;ind Esquimaux people always hate their friends
when they get bad spirits in them."
Tears ran down the good man's cheeks as he ex-
claimed, " Why, the dear child, she doesn't know any-
thing ! "
Then he took me upon his knee and began
to explain that my mother did not have a bad spirit,
but was sick. He dropped his school work entirely,
and for three days devoted himself to explaining the
Christian belief. Then he made me go to my mother
and tell her all about it. My mother was glad— oh,
so glad; and she died happy.
My four brothers and three sisters are in Icchmd,
yet. I promised when I left that I wouid send for
them, and I still hope to have them all with me.
Wc sailed in a ship from Iceland to Scotland. 1
cannot remember at what city we landed. l'"rom
there I had my first railway ride, into luigland, ami
was much frightened by the noise and motion of tlu
cars. Then we sailed to Quebec, and then came U<
Winnipeg;. It took us five months and five days tn
come from Iceland to Manitoba.
When I came to Manitoba, I was sick for nearly
two years. The Iceland ministers were very kind to
me, and took care of me while I was sick. When 1
^rot well, I started out to work for my living. 1
could not speak one word of English, and I was
afraid to try.
The first person I worked for was a half-bretd
woman, who had a rough, quarrelsome lot of chil-
dren that I had to wait upon. Once in a while! was
called into the front room, and would find some
strangers there. One day the mistress was called
away, when I was sent into the room, and the gentle-
man and lady who were there gave me a quarter,
each. She had been making money out of mc in
this way all the while, but all the money I received
for some months of hard labor was what these people
Then I was taken sick with the measles. The
woman turned me out of doors. I did not know
where to go. . I just ran round and round the house.
istcrs arc in Iceland,
lat I woi'.icl send for
hem all with nic.
land to Scotland. 1
J we landed. l''ruin
ie, into lui5.jland, ami
ijse and motion of tin
ec, and then came to
nths and five days tn
'. was sick for nearly
ters were very kind to
I was sick. When 1
rk for my living. 1
■ English, and I was
for was a half-breed
irrclsome lot of chii-
Oncc in a while I was
and would find some
le mistress was called
room, and the gentlt-
1 gave me a quarter,
money out of me in
:he money i received
rt'as what these people
h the measles. The
ors. I did not know
and round the house,
/.//) /// Mtuiitohii
.V young lady, from one of the best families in Win-
nipeg, found me in this plight, took me by the hand
ind led me home. She nursed me till I was well,
,uid then gave me good clothes and found me a
place to wori-:. :')he told me to come back to her if
I was in trouble again.
After working for some time in this place, I came
to work for Mrs. C, the lady who is with me now.
When she first saw me she thought I was a little
child, and did not see how I could be of any 'u.sc to
her. But she pitied me because she thought I
was cold, and gave me something to do. I lived with
her three months. When I first came to her I could
not .speak enough English to tell her I liked coffee
better than tea. My work was washing dishes.
They would help me into a chair so that I could
reach the table. When at last I was able to explain,
with the help of an Iceland girl who lived next door,
that I desired to travel as a curiosity, hoping in this
way to make money enough to bring my brothers
and sisters from Iceland, Mr. and Mrs. C. consented
to come with me.
My father agreed to let me go, if I would go with
respectable people and remain with them. I had
worn my seal skin suit about in Manitoba until it
was worn out, but my father had taken care of my
polar bear suit, so I had that to bring with me. He
let me bring his new flint and walrus tusk, also.
But a few months afterwards he sent for his .spear,
because he thought he could not get along without it,
Olof K rarer.
so 1 returned it to him. He is still liviivj in Mani-
toba, and is 65 years old. This is several years older
than people live in Greenland. Oldest people wc
ever knew were 60 years old. This I know from the
Icelanders, who went round to all the snow houses
and counted the bones in the different sacks.
When I reached Minneapolis I was taken sick, and
the doctors did not know what to do for mc. They
kept me in a warm room, and I grew worse every
day At last Mr. C. heard of a doctor who had been
in Greenland, and sent for him. Under his advice I
was taken to Minnetonka and kept in a cold room
and I got well.
At first I traveled as a curiosity and charged ten
cents. All I could do was to let the people see me,
show my costume, flint and tusk, sing a few songs,
etc By degrees I learned to answer questions, and
at last came to talk pretty well. While we were at
a place in Indiana, called Cloverdale, some profes-
sors and a minister urged me to give a lecture. They
secured a large hall, and when I peeked through a
hole in the curtain I saw about 300 people, and was
nearly scared out of my wits. But Mrs. C. got me
mad over something about my dress, and the curtain
went up while I was standing there, and I spoke to
them right along. That was Dec. 30th, .884. Smce
then I have been lecturing right along, except in
some short times of sickness, and the hottest weath-
er I have been in Minnesota, Wisconsm, Iowa
Uinois. Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri. Kansas.
'V/ /''arm in dniiilniii/!'
still living in Mani-
I is several years oldi i
Oldest people wc
This I know from the
all the snow housr^
i I was taken sick, and
to do for me. They
d I grew worse every
a doctor who had been
Under his advice 1
kept in a cold room,
sity and charged ten
let the people see mc,
isk, sing a few songs,
answer questions, and
11. While we were at
overdale, some profes-
give a lecture. They
1 I peeked through a
ut 300 people, and was
But Mrs. C. got me
y dress, and the curtain
there, and I spoke to
Dec. 30th, 1884. Since
right along, except in
and the hottest weath-
3ta, Wisconsin, Iowa
ana, Missouri. Kansas,
and Nebra.ska. and I hope by next year, to have all
my brothers and sisters with me, so that we can
travel together and help the missionary teachers in
Iceland, where we got our education in the first place.
A great many funny things have been said to me
by visitors, and a great many curious questions
asked. Generally, people arc kind and considerate,
but sometimes they are rude and uncivil. I am al-
ways glad to satisfy rea.sonable curiosity to the best
of my ability, but I do not like impertinence any
better than any body else.
I was somewhat surpri.sed by one old lady, a year
or so ago. After she had listened for some time,
and become greatly interested, she came up and
said, " Where did yeou say yeou kum from.' " " From
the eastern coast of Greenland." "Greenland! why
h, yes. I know that country. My husband's got a
farm there." A farm in Greenland! Well, a good
many other people have made mistakes fully equal
to the old lady's.
Americans, I think you do not realize your bles-
sings in this great land of plenty, where you have so
many fine things. Even here, I often see sad faces,
and hear words of discontent. Sometimes I am a
little discontented myself, when I see something I
want, and think I cannot, or ought not to, have it.
But I soon get over that feeling when I remember
my home in the frozen north, where we sat still
thrcAigh the weary hours, shivering with the cold,
choked by the smoke, and often almost perishing
jX Old/ KiiVi'r.
If 1 was to yu buck to my race ef pco))!., I would
not be able to tell them about what I sec and luai
in this country. They have not the lan^juauc to
express the thoujjht. They have seen nothing like
a sewin^j machine, or a piano. They have no mate-
rials to enable them to make machines. They never
saw a painting t,r a drawing. Their wild, rude songs
is all they have that is anything like music. They
have no idea of a book. They eat when they're
hungry, and sleep when they're sleepy. They are
happy and contented when they dont kmn.' '//,' bet-
ter. , .
The only relatives we knew about, were orothers
and sisters, father and mother, and our grandparents^
As for other relatives, such as uncles, aunts and
cousins, we knew nothing about them. We lived in
small settlements of thirty or forty families. No one
seemed to take any interest in finding out how many
settlements there were, or how many people lived in
them We had only one n.imc each, just as you
name animals in this countiv. My father's name
was Krauker. My name was OKvar. Before we left
Iceland the whole family were baptized. They
named my father Salve Krarer, and they baptized
me Olof Krarer, making the Iceland names as near
like the Esquimaux names as they could, but giving
my father a new name. Salve, which means some-
thing like " saved." ^
• (if pco])!. , 1 would
that I sec and Ixmi
Qt the lan^juajic to
e seen nothing hke
rht'y have no inate-
:hines. They never
leir uilil, rude sonjjs
like music. They
y eat when they're
: sleepy. They are
■ doiit know •'iiy bet-
bout, were brothers
id our grandparents.
s uncles, aunts an<l
: them. We lived in
rty families. No one
nding out how many
many people lived in
w: each, just as you
My father's name
iKvar. Before we left
ere baptized. They
r, and they baptized
celand names as near
hey could, but giving
, which means some-
On Iceland's damp and stormy shore.
Mid Geyser's throe and Ocean's roar,
A sturdy race on sterile soil.
Pursue their unremitting toil;
Struggling against stern poverty.
And Denmark's hostile mastery.
Farther northward, bleak and cold,
Bound by Winter's icy hold,
Where eternal snows abound, —
There the Esquimaux is found.
House of ice and suit of fur;
Food, the flesh of polar bear;
Tusks of walrus, the only arm.
Ferocious beasts alone alarm;
A dog-sleigh ride his only pleasure;
A piece of Hint his choicest treasure;
Ambition's height to steal a wife,.
For her he dares to risk his life.
He tells no lie nor ever swears;
For neighbor, as for brother, cares.
The golden rule he never heard.
Hut tries to keep its every word.
Father to son the story told.
How sailors hardy, brave and bold,
Far back in bygone centuries.
Sought to explore the Northern seas;
Storm-bound, shipwrecked and cast- away,
Hy li()rriil fate compelled Id sta>-,
They yieliieil not to ^jrim despair.
Hut bearded Winter in his lair;
liravely huildin^f tlieir snow house domes,
They settled into northern homes.
Lost to tlieir ken is old Norwa>-,
But cherished still in their memory.
Tile risiiij^ sun be^an the year;
I'^tur months his rays shone full and clear
A month he j^nive a mildei li}.(lit,
"Twixt the lonj^r t|;iy and lont,ar ni^dit.
I''()r half the year Aurora's l)eams.
Tile moon's .soft ray, and starry fleams,
Guided the liunter to his home,
Whene'er he chose afar to roain.
Koremost amon^ his tribe and clan,
There liveil a hardy little man;
His wife, renowned for spirit hi^h.
Rejoiced in her lar^e family; —
Kour sturdy sons, four maidens brown.
Gathered in harmony around
Their fireplace, and to^etlier dwelt,
And love for one another felt.
One fateful day there came alonfi^
Six Iceland fishers, stern and strong.
The Esquimaux in terror fled
From spirits evil, so they said;
But meeting them with friendly mien.
The pigmies soon at ease were seen.
The giants more contented grew.
lull aiut clear;
Ami ea^jer sc.iri d for ktiowicd^je new;
Hut erst they thu ij,dit of native shore,
And longed to viiw their home once more.
At leii(^th, in ^ iiUiiroiis spirit bold.
Their purpose to tlieir friends they told.
To seek their lov'd latul once again,
Hy crossing; on the frozen main.
The trial made, the deed was done!
A victory j^reat. and nobly won!
Three families assistance lent.
Upon returning they were bent,
Till finding this a better land.
They settled on the barren strand;
In mission schools were kindly taught,
And daily grew in word and thought.
l-'ive years rolletl by; consumption's claim
Was laid upon the mother's frame.
The father loved his youngest child.
And with her crossed the ocean wild;
With many mishaps, much fatigue,
They found a home in Winnipeg.
Five years again had claimed their own;
The daughter now to woman grown,
Though but a little child for size, '
Assayed a wond'rous enterprise —
To win from gen'rous strangers' hand,
By telling of her native land,
Her fortune, and to meet once more
Her sisters three and brothers four.
Pray tell me, friend, didst e'er thou find
A braver spirit, nobler mind,
A name more worthy to go down
On hist'ry's page with bright renown ? ■
Captain Holm recently returned to Copenhagen,
after having spent two years and a half exploring
the almost unknown region of the east coast of
Greenland. ^Although ten or twelve expeditions
have set out for East Greenland in the past two cen-
turies, almost all of them in search of the lost
Norsemen, who were supposed to have settled there,
only one ship ever reached the coast.
The great ice masses, sometimes hundreds of
miles wide, that are perpetually piled up against the
shore, have kept explorers from East Greenland
long after all Arctic lands were fairly well known.
With three assistants, Captain Holm landed at Cape
Farewell, and then went north some four hundred
miles. He has returned with large collections, rep-
resenting the flora, fauna, geology, and anthropology
of this hitherto unknown portion of the earth's sur-
face. He found in those cold and dismal regions,
isolated from the world, a race of people who had
never heard, or known, of the great civilized nations
of the earth. They seemed to lead happy lives, and
live in a communicative way in hamlets. They
differ entirely in language, and physical character,
from the Esquimaux of West Greenland. — Dcmor-
esfs Moiithh. ^^ .
ii n^xaJW» ietyi i4tilM
2r thou find
t rcMiown ?
led to Copenhagen,
id a half exploring
f the east coast of
in the past two ccn-
search of the lost
o have settled there,
itimes hundreds of
piled up against the
m East Greenland
fairly well known,
lolm landed at Cape
some four hundred
rge collections, rep-
ly, and anthropology
n of the earth's sur-
and dismal regions,
of people who had
eat civilized nations
ead happy lives, and
in hamlets. They
Greenland. — Dcmor-